Submission Spotlight

Chasing Stars 

Laura Aldofredi

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Laura Aldofredi is an Italian artist based in Amsterdam, specialized in art direction, 2d animation, visual development, and illustration for children.

 

Laura graduated with her MA in Animation at AKV St. Joost (Netherlands) and as a MA with honors in Editorial Illustration at Ars in Fabula (Italy). 

 

Right now she is based in Amsterdam and she is coordinating 2d feature film productions and working as an illustrator. She has recently started to develop her next short film “Live”. Read a short interview with Laura about her film below!

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FAF: 6. The artic backgrounds are very unique and important elements in the film-- can you tell us a little more about your process of designing them and how they drive the visual aesthetic of your film?

LA: Being an illustrator for already quite some years, the visual look of the film was very important for me. My intention was to create an immersive, fantastic, and magical world for my characters. The production of the backgrounds was critical in order to get to the quality I had in my mind. I worked extensively on the design of the film and after some experiments, I merged 3D modeling with digital painting: all the landscapes are realized in Cinema 4D, the cameras are also set in this software. Then the backgrounds are painted in Photoshop with multiple layers of digital watercolors. 

FAF: The character designs of the whale and the young girl use similar colors, are both very soft and move in similar ways. Was this intentional, and what was your inspiration for pairing these two unlikely creatures together as friends? 

LA: The characters has similar colors and move in similar ways. This is because they both belong to the same fictional world, so the similarity was indeed intentional. About the choice of the beluga whale, this is a fun fact. I really wanted a girl and then an animal character, but while working on the first development of the film, I really struggled in finding the right "animal spirit" for the human character. Initially, I thought of a deer, a wolf - somehow all characters are often seen on screen and in stories.

 

Then one day my boyfriend made a joke, that, of course, the animal spirit was supposed to be a beluga! This was in memory of our holidays in Valencia, where I spent hours in the Oceanographic Aquarium watching the beluga whales. I took his joke quite seriously and then the beluga character was born in my mind.

FAF: What would you most like audiences to take away from “Chasing Stars”?

JL: I would like them to understand the value and importance of friendship and that there is always someone ready to help us in our difficult moments and journeys in life. At the same time, I hope they understand and realize it is alright if our beloved ones leave us at some point. And even if those people go somewhere else, our journey has still to go on

 

FAF: First off, how did you get involved in animation? What drew you to the art and how long have you been animating?

LA: Most of the animation films I watched during my childhood drove me to believe in my dreams and being a better person. Now that I'm grown up, I want to be able to do the same: make relevant stories and inspire others to always give their best. This is how I got into illustration and animation. I've been an illustrator for seven years already and two years as an animator.

FAF: What inspires you to create?

LA: I like to look into the poetic of the everyday life, I'm attracted by small details and simple feelings. Then I like to build a whole fantastic world around it.

 

 

FAF: Your story follows the journey of a young girl and a beluga whale 'chasing stars', what does that mean?

LA: Yes, the young girl is helped by the beluga whale in her journey to find her home and true place in the world. They chase stars because the night sky only can show the right direction to follow.

 

FAF: "Chasing Stars" tells its story without words and the music paired with the animation really drives the emotionality. How does this add to the meaning for you, and why is important that there is no dialogue?

LA: The film has no dialogue as the intention was to give as much space as possible to music. In this sense, this was a style choice. The music in the film indeed adds an extra narrative level. I wanted to create a simultaneous dialogue between image and sound, in order to enhance the poetic of the film.  I was also lucky enough to work with a great composer and pianist, Ottavia Marini, who very well understood my intentions and composed an incredible soundtrack.

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FAF: The last scene of the film says "per te Nonno." What does this mean, and what is its importance to you?

LA: It means "for you, grandpa". When I finished the film and looked at it, composited and edited - only at that moment, I realized that the whole time the beluga character was my grandpa. So, in the end, I dedicated the film to him. The beluga, just like my grandpa, accompanied and helped the girl through her journey and then, at some point, he had to leave and let the girl go on in her adventure. 
One of the messages of the film is indeed that people depart from us and this is fine, as it is part of our life. It is okay to share some time together, but then there is always a moment for goodbye. 

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Chasing Stars 

Trailer

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